Three Norfolk Gardens...
Spider Gate, Hoveton
Today I enjoyed my first BIG open garden touring day - three Norfolk open gardens, with Non-Gardening Partner in tow. He was really bored with the idea initially, but the driving and navigating gave him something to concentrate on, hee hee...
Wednesday 9th July
Keeping research at a minimum, I picked some gardens that I'd hear of, presented my driver with my big book of English roadmaps, and pointed at the destinations.
First we drove to Hoveton Hall - an honest, square walled garden with a spider gate and some awesome Quaking grass. There were heaps of huge rhododendron trees to see, and a pond to walk around. I liked the Trandescantia plantings. And visitors can walk through the spider gate - nice. I'd rather like a spider gate in my own garden, but it would probably look silly...
Walled Garden at Hoveton Hall
Garden number two was The Old Vicarage in East Ruston, on the Norfolk coast. I'd read about this garden, but - oops - I didn't like it. Plants were stuffed into oblong 'garden rooms' with Eucalyptus trees (considered ornamental?) in the middle. There were New Zealand species Phormiums (no coloured hybrids) and large Hebes. Straight lines everywhere - these gardeners are obsessed with controlling their garden!
Off to Mannington
Then we went off to Mannington to look at the display rose gardens. I liked some of the historical roses. Too many rose beds? Hmm... There were great displays of Red Hot Pokers by the moat, though...
Mannington Rose Garden
Non-Gardening Partner indicated he was pretty much done with visiting gardens. Oh dear... But he flies out of England in two days' time. I am dumping him, so to speak, at Oxford.
Friday 11th July
We drove to Waterperry Gardens, which was full of slowly perambulating grey-haired visitors with walking sticks. Waterperry has a groovy long walled herbaceous border. It's a horticultural college training place. It was OK. Then we zoomed around Oxford's ring road to a park'n'ride where I dropped NGP off and waved goodbye. Then I, as a lone woman-gardener-traveller, began what can only be described as 'the hell wiggle' making my way down and across to Devon.
Herbaceous Border at Waterperry
En route I visited a garden in Shipton Moyne called Hodges Barn. It seemed a pretty nice place - 'Please ask the gardener if you need change' read the entrance sign. I got terribly excited actually seeing some mulch! And a couple of busy weeding gardeners... One border repeated Rosa Mundi with lilac-blue flowery underplanting - a beautiful look. Large roses were grown in the grass like proper shrubs. There were a few formal symmetric things, but on the whole there was an open-air feeling of freedom.
Then I 'found' this amazing road called the B3227 which wiggled and jiggled from Taunton right to Umberleigh in Devon. My Bed'n'Breakfast is called Court Mill and is approached down the steepest little lane. Tomorrow I am going to visit Rosemoor.